Documentary Film about Personal Genome Project

Two-time Emmy award-winning documentary producer Marilyn Ness has been following around the Personal Genome Project (PGP) staff and volunteers for the past several years. I’m thrilled to announce that she has released the opening sequence and webisode #1 featuring George Church, founder and participant. More webisodes will be released in the coming weeks!

Opening Sequence:

Webisode #1 featuring George Church:

You can read more about the documentary project by visiting Marilyn’s website:

Short bio for Marilyn Ness:
Marilyn Ness is a two-time Emmy Award-winning documentary producer with 14 years of experience. She founded Necessary Films in 2005, directing short films for non-profits including the ACLU and developing documentaries for television including Bad Blood and GENOME: The Future Is Now. Prior to that, Ness spent four years as a producer for director Ric Burns, collaborating on four award-winning PBS films: Ansel Adams; The Center of the World; Andy Warhol; and Eugene O’Neil. Ness’s other credits include films for The Learning Channel, Court TV, and National Geographic, as well as films for the PBS series American Experience and the theatrical feature The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg.

Personal Genome Project and 23andMe on Charlie Rose

Charlie Rose interviews PGP participants George Church and Steven Pinker, as well as founders of 23andMe Linda Avey and Anne Wojcicki. Here is the video:

Esther Dyson on the Digital Health Revolution

Scribe Media’s Peter Cervieri interviews Esther Dyson, board member of 23andMe and one of the PGP-10.

Esther Dyson Video Scribe Media

In the interview, Esther gives her views on the history of commerce on the internet, problems with health care as we know it in the U.S., and the future of genetics.

Charlie Rose Interviews Thoughtleaders in Personal Genomics

Interviews with David Agus, Co-Founder, Navigenics, Dean Ornish, President, Preventive Medicine Research Institute and George Church of Harvard Medical School’s Personal Genome Project.

Previously on Charlie Rose, Esther Dyson discusses her participation in the PGP. See also, an interview with Francis Collins.

Video Round-up: Esther Dyson on Charlie Rose, Spencer Wells on Colbert, and important video I can’t show you on genetic discrimination

Esther Dyson was interviewed on the Charlie Rose Show this past week. Charlie Rose ends the show by saying to Esther, “I can’t wait to see your genome”. I think this is the first time I’ve ever witnessed this expression being used like this — said with such endearment too! — but I’m sure it won’t be the last. (A google search for this phrase shows zero results at the time this post was written.)

The first twenty minutes of the show are mostly about Esther’s involvement in the Personal Genome Project (PGP) [disclosure: I work for the PGP]. The discussion doesn’t stop at genomes or health; the rest of the show ventures into the future of commercial space travel, the internet, cookie monsters, personalized search, AI and more. Esther never ceases to inform and inspire me, and challenge the way I think. I’m so glad she is among the folks that will be pioneering personal genomics for the rest of us via the PGP. Check it out:

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False Alarm: The Celebrity Meme

There is this meme that has been going around about how “celebrity genomics” is in some way very naughty and should be avoided. This meme keeps popping up since it was first inaugurated in a news article by Erika Check entitled “Celebrity genomes alarm researchers”. Here were some of the quotes from that article:

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Juan Enriquez on Genomics

TED continues to post videos of talks from past conferences. They recently posted Juan Enriquez’s presentation from 2004 entitled “Decoding the Future with Genomics.” Here it is:


Juan also wrote the popular “As the Future Catches You“. The book and the TED talk draw upon a lot of the same content. They also draw upon his evocative style. A snapshot of a page from his book shows how he uses design to help express a message:


Here is the same sentence without the creative typography:

  If someone spent her entire life reading a copy of one person’s genome . . . she would barely finish . . . much less understand . . . or remember . . . what she read  

Less effective with plain old text or just less interesting?

Be sure to check out some of the other TED talks. My favorite talks so far are those by Hans Rosling (data never looked so good) and Malcolm Gladwell, a great storyteller. Who knew tomato sauce had such meaning to reveal about human preference? There is no one perfect tomato sauce, there are only perfect tomato sauces…

Video: Rep. Louise Slaughter reflects on 12 year old GINA

Here is Representative Louise Slaughter (D-NY) discussing the importance of GINA on the House floor yesterday:

(If you’re reading via RSS, you might need to go to my site to view the embedded video)

The bill passed in the House 420-3.  If you’re curious, the 3 Nays were Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Representative Ed Royce (R-CA), and Representative Ron Paul (R-TX).

H.R. 493, Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act  (PDF)

Full proceedings from the Congressional Record, April 25, 2007, ~20 pages (PDF)

Hodosh to lead Archon X-Prize for Genomics

The Archon X Prize for Genomics has appointed Marc Hodosh to lead the $10 million competition. Hodosh is an entrepreneur and tech geek who recently chaired a robotics competition for segway inventor Dean Kamen.The Archon X Prize will be awarded to the first group that can “build a device and use it to sequence 100 human genomes within 10 days or less, with an accuracy of no more than one error in every 100,000 bases sequenced, with sequences accurately covering at least 98% of the genome, and at a recurring cost of no more than $10,000 per genome.” In other words, the winner must be able to sequence 100 human genomes in 10 days for a $1 million.

The X Prize Foundation has published a video describing the competition, check it out:

So far three teams have registered to compete, including VisiGen Biotechnologies, 454 Life Sciences, and the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution.Here are the competition guidelines (PDF).Want to compete? Register here (PDF).

Video: Virtual Genomic Counseling vs. Face-to-Face

The PBS television station KQED in San Francisco recently aired a very thoughtful segment comparing online genomic counseling through DNA Direct to traditional face-to-face counseling via UCSF.  Check it out:

KQED, Genetic Testing through the Web. Feb 20, 2007.
Full discolure: I am employed by DNA Direct.

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